Schools’ closure not a viable solution

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The Punjab government’s decision to shut all educational institutes of the city, owing to dengue is proving to be a redundant exercise as experts claim that the consent of the stakeholders should have been taken before making such a decision. Huge academic losses are expected due to the unscheduled holidays whereas special preventive measures on the directions of the government would add to the financial burden for the parents.
Regional Director Beaconhouse School System Ali Raza told Pakistan Today that his school had sprayed two times before the government’s directive but due to the strict orders, the administration had to close schools down. Private schools were answerable to the parents of students and could not afford negligence, he added. Raza said that the government was not authorized to ensure that dengue would be end within ten days.
He said that the institution required 186 academic days which could not be fulfilled this year. Tt was quite unfortunate that the government did not take stakeholders into consideration and the Beaconhouse administration was not allowed to voice its opinion to the chief minister (CM), he added. A medical expert Dr Salman Kazmi told Pakistan Today that Punjab government should have announced a single fumigation day to spray all the schools and colleges.
He said that the effectiveness of the holidays depended on how the Punjab government utilized these ten days. On the other hand the government claimed that the decision was made in order to make sure that fumigation at each and every educational institution of the city was undertaken. Dengue Emergency Response Committee’s chairman and Member of National Assembly (MNA) Saad Rafique said it was not easy to close down all the private schools as some of them were owned by tycoons and government officials.
He said that the Punjab government was considering several options in this regard and the school timings might be changed. Rafique said that the government would make sure that the students and the school administrations took proper precautionary measures to avoid dengue. A concerned mother, Mrs Umer, acknowledged the Punjab government’s initiative and said that the CM was looking out for the students’ heath and she hoped that he would be able to cope with the situation in the coming days.
She said that the government seemed to be working towards eradicating dengue and therefore the closure of schools was an effective decision but the Sharif College of Engineering and Technology, which is owned by the Sharif brothers, should also be closed to set an example. The current academic year was already being interfered with as activities such as the censuses and polio vaccinations kept the teachers of the public schools busy.
The dengue prevention school closure added to the number of unjustified holidays and the teachers claimed that with a limited number of school days, teachers would not be able to complete the course work. Course work at various universities would also be affected as the semester system requires a tough and consistent schedule throughout the year and unnecessary off days might add to the academic burden of the students.
A father of two children, Ikhlas said that the Punjab government should take notice of the stagnant water in schools to accentuate dengue preventive measures. He said that the government should open schools and colleges if the concerned authorities were done with fogging and fumigating educational institutions.

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